Workshop: Planning Process Trials for Equity 

Workshop Summary

The Challenge: Participants were assigned to various roles within a fictitious community and agency and asked to develop an equitable planning process resulting in a prioritized list of projects. 

The Advice: An expert panel provided guidance to participants for consideration in developing their plans. 

The Process: Participants first developed a high level approach to the planning process for their respective communities and particular given situations. In addition to the provided roles assigned to them, people also brought their real-life experiences to the table.  In role playing the implementation of that plan, disruptive incidents were distributed, and the groups then had to assess how/if to pivot from their original plan. 

The Takeaways: Groups were then asked to report out on their results. Universal themes included incorporating equity at the beginning of the process and creating buy-in and effective communication internally and externally.

Another takeaway is the contextual nature of equity. It’s hard to define, it’s hard to quantify, it’s hard to achieve. In one example of such subjectivity, a participant noted that everyone can make an argument about why their project is equitable, but it is not binary. How can we set up a process to help understand the spectrum of equitability and evaluate from there? 

Summary Compiled by Michelle Bina (🙏)


Here are the [fictional] towns and regions that teams worked within – click for the full packet including the various character roles and secrets agendas!

Santa Pacifica

Where innovation meets the Pacific

🔗 Packet

Santa Pacifico

Where innovation meets the Pacific

🔗 Packet

Cross County Region

🔗 Packet


Where opportunity meets diversity

🔗 Packet

Coastal City

Pioneering Progress

🔗 Packet


1:25 – Get situated

🪧Pick out your role

🔍 find your team 

👋 introduce yourself

1:35 Overview

🗺️Workshop Overview (Moderator)

💡Panel Ideas to Consider (Panel)

📜 Team Instructions

2:00 Process Design

✍️Led by each DOT Commissioner, Teams design a planning and project prioritization process that they believe will better reflect equity considerations than the status quo and summarize their process on a single “slide” (flip chart page).

💬Teams have the opportunity to discuss their process with panel members for comments and refinement.

2:40Process Testing/Implementation

🎭Team members assume assigned roles and act them out as directed, documenting the outcomes.

3:30 Reflection

💭Teams internally reflect on their planning process and how it did/didn’t work as planned / what they would improve (pluses + deltas)

🤔Commissioners present their results to the Panel, which discusses feedback.

💬Group discussion about what we could bring to the real world

Who's Involved?

Aside from you, here's who is working on this Workshop.

General Organizers: Aditi Misra, UC-Denver; Elizabeth Sall, UrbanLabs LLC; Tierra Bills, UCLA

Scenario Development

Discussant Panel